A man like no other

The Greek word used of Jesus and translated "only-begotten" in the King James Version of John 3:16 is monogenes. This means that as son of God, Jesus is unique or one of a kind. He is also unique as a man. And how? Not in his physical appearance, we will see in this gracEmail, nor because he died, or even because he died by crucifixion. On a few subsequent Sundays we will explore some ways that … [Read more...]

JESUS: NEW MAN FOR A NEW WORLD

Mama Cass Elliott sang the song and her words echoed the good news Jesus himself had preached. "There's a New World Coming / And it's just around the bend / There's a new world coming / This one's coming to an end" (Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing). Jesus called it "the kingdom of heaven," the new dimension of reality in which God will restore everything, redeem our bodies and liberate creation … [Read more...]

The Christmas story we wish was not there

Part 1 Christmas is beautiful. Christmas is ugly. Christmas is happy. Christmas is sad. Families rejoin, celebrate, exchange gifts. Families disintegrate into individuals without families, sad and alone. Christmas means babies all dressed in reds and whites. Christmas means babies left on doorsteps, hospital driveways, even in dumpsters. Christmas involves plenty--of food, fun, and fellowship. … [Read more...]

Christmas Prophecy Fulfilled

This Christmas I am impressed anew that we are seeing biblical prophecy fulfilled before our eyes. Not the kind of prophetic fulfillment about which the sensationalists talk and write best-seller books for the gullible masses -- about Middle Eastern conflict and geopolitics and world banks and bar codes at the supermarkets. No, something far more solid and biblical than any of that! God's word to … [Read more...]

the virgin birth and more- 2

Life was not easy for Mary after that visit from Gabriel, the angel who told her that she would conceive a child. Her, a virgin--conceive? Humanly impossible. "How can these things be?" she had asked, quite literally. Since that day, it seemed to Mary, everyone else in Galilee had asked the same question of her--but in another tone of voice. After a while, she had learned to accept the clucking … [Read more...]

RULES FOR RICH FOLKS

As we approach this Christmas season--indeed, as we live any day in any year--are there guidelines, principles, or maxims from God to direct our shopping and to guide our giving? Indeed there are, including a healthful cluster of instructions found in 1 Timothy 6:17-19. We might have overlooked them, because they are directed to "those who are rich" and we assumed that meant someone … [Read more...]

TURKEYS, THANKS, AND TYPHOONS

As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the United States this year, the holiday is a good time to remember that thanks and giving properly go together. For God's gracious gifts to us, we give thanks. The expression "say grace" means giving thanks. Because we are thankful, we give to others in need. The circle is completed when those to whom we give, themselves give thanks to God. This year … [Read more...]

BETHLEHEM’S BABIES (2)

"It is hard to celebrate Christ's birth with joy when I read about Herod killing all the boy babies of Bethlehem. Can we find any beam of light shining through this horrible and senseless event?" * * * More than a thousand years after Rachel's death, Jacob's descendants of the Southern Kingdom were snatched from their homeland and taken at spearpoint to faraway Babylon. Ramah, five miles north … [Read more...]

BETHLEHEM’S BABIES (1)

"It is hard to celebrate Christ's birth with joy when I read about Herod killing all the boy babies of Bethlehem. Can we find any beam of light shining through this horrible and senseless event?" * * * We could wish that Matthew's Christmas story stopped with the Magi and the wondrous star, but it doesn't. The Magi had asked Herod's help in locating the newborn king, and the tyrannical despot … [Read more...]

WHEN GOD BECAME MAN

The greater miracle, it has been said, is not the virgin birth of Jesus but the fact that in that wondrous conception the eternal God took on human nature and the Creator condescended to join his creation. Mary's son is none other than Immanuel -- "God with us" (Matt. 1:23). Like the Magi, we fall down and worship him. The Christmas carol has it right: "Hail, the incarnate deity!" He who existed … [Read more...]